India working actively for integration with ASEAN, says Manmohan Singh

   Nov 19, 2:29 pm

Bali (Indonesia), Nov.19 (ANI): Asserting that the global economic situation is showing several signs of stress, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Saturday said that the emerging market countries in Asia are growing well and are in fact contributing to the recovery of the world economy.

Addressing the sixth East Asia Summit Plenary Session here, Dr. Manmohan Singh said: " I am happy to say that India is a part of this process. We have grown at an average of 8.4 percent in the past five years. Like other countries we too have slowed down in 2011, but we still expect to grow around 7.5 percent. However, none of us can prosper in isolation to the rest of the world. The most serious fault line at present is what is happening in Eurozone."

"Against the global economic background that we are in, it is all the more important that we give full play to flows of trade, investment, services and ideas among ourselves. Howsoever complex the task, we should persevere with the project of East Asian economic integration and in our efforts towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA). India is working actively to integrate with this region," he added.

Stating that the rapid economic growth is the most enduring strategy to overcome the global economic slowdown, Dr. Singh said: " We should keep our focus on the development agenda, make sure our growth is environmentally sustainable, find new and renewable technologies to fuel our growth and invest in education and skill development and the East Asia Summit is ideally equipped to pursue such an agenda."

Asserting that political and security issues have increasingly become a part of the discourse in the region, whether in the ASEAN regional forum or the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus Eight, Dr. Singh said: " We believe that while respecting differences and ensuring synergy between different forums, the East Asia Summit provides an opportunity to discuss all issues. It can contribute to enhancing mutual understanding and promoting peace, stability and security. "

"There are common challenges we face that cut across national boundaries such as terrorism, prevention and response to natural disasters, piracy, protecting sea lanes of communication and drug trafficking. We welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues in the East Asia Summit," he added.

He further said: " India would be happy to share its expertise in the areas of disaster management and maritime security."

"Specifically, we propose to host next year a EAS Workshop on disaster management and relief in the case of an occurrence of an earthquake. We are already working with several countries in combating piracy," he added.

Emphasising that the East Asia Summit is the forum for building an open, inclusive and transparent architecture of regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, Dr. Singh said: "In a relatively short period it has taken several initiatives to promote trade, economic integration and connectivity. It has facilitated collective responses to challenges such as natural disasters, pandemics, climate change and energy security."

"The East Asia Summit process is still work in progress but I believe we are on the right track. The resurgence of Asia is dependent on the evolution of a cooperative architecture in which all countries are equal participants. We will work with all other countries towards this end," he added. By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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